ORLANDO, Florida (AP) — A Tesla using its partially automated driving system slammed into a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser Saturday on an interstate near downtown Orlando and narrowly missed its driver, who had pulled over to assist a disabled vehicle.
Earlier this month, the U.S. government opened a formal investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot driving system after a series of similar collisions with parked emergency vehicles.
The trooper whose cruiser was hit shortly before 5 a.m. Saturday had activated his emergency lights and was on the way to the disabled vehicle when the Tesla hit the cruiser’s left side and then collided with the other vehicle, highway patrol spokeswoman Lt. Kim Montes told The Orlando Sentinel.
The report said the 27-year-old man in the Tesla and the driver of the disabled vehicle suffered minor injuries and the trooper was unhurt.
Tesla did not immediately respond to an email sent to its press address.
Autopilot has frequently been misused by Tesla drivers, who have been caught driving drunk or even riding in the back seat while a car rolled down a California highway.
The electric vehicle maker uses a camera-based system, a lot of computing power, and sometimes radar to spot obstacles, determine what they are, and then decide what the vehicles should do. But researchers say it has had trouble with parked emergency vehicles and perpendicular trucks in its path.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened the Tesla probe after tallying 11 crashes since 2018 in which Teslas on autopilot or cruise control have hit vehicles where first responders have used flashing lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board or cones warning of hazards.
In those crashes, 17 people were injured and one was killed, the NHTSA said. An investigation could lead to a recall or other enforcement action.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which also has investigated Tesla crashes, has recommended that NHTSA and Tesla limit the autopilot’s use to areas where it can safely operate. It also recommended that Tesla be required to improve its system to ensure drivers pay attention.
Last year the NTSB blamed Tesla, drivers and lax regulation by NHTSA for two collisions in which Teslas crashed beneath crossing tractor-trailers.
The crashes into emergency vehicles cited by NHTSA began on Jan. 22, 2018, in Culver City, California, near Los Angeles when a Tesla using autopilot struck a parked firetruck with flashing lights. No one was injured in that accident.
Monster Jam World Finals® Returns to Orlando This Weekend, Celebrates Monster Jam’s 30th Anniversary
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The prestigious Monster Jam World Finals® returns to Orlando May 21 and 22, 2022. This two-day championship is the biggest event of the season and showcases the best trucks and drivers in Racing, Freestyle, High Jump and Skills competitions. This year’s World Finals XXI celebrates Monster Jam’s 30th Anniversary and Grave Digger’s 40th Anniversary. It offers the largest Pit Party of the year, where fans can meet the drivers, see the trucks up close and enjoy many other family-friendly activities–all included in the ticket price. Fans can purchase tickets for both days through Ticketmaster.com.
Fans get to watch jaw-dropping stunts from the drivers’ 1,500 horsepower, 12-feet tall, 12,000-pound monster trucks, including 12-time world champion Tom Meents, driver of the Max-D truck. World record holder Bari Musawwir, driver of the Zombie truck, also returns to compete in the Skills Competition.
In just in 7.5 days, Camping World Stadium’s gridiron field transformed into the World Finals dirt track with 7,500 yards and 22.5 million pounds of dirt. This year’s track includes a first-ever figure-eight over-under track that allows trucks to simultaneously jump over each other while racing. Fans not only get to enjoy over-the-top stunts, and thrilling fireworks, but they’ll be the very ones choosing the winner.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Duran’s HB 91 Passes in Tourism, Infrastructure, and Energy Subcommittee
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Source: Florida House of Representatives // Earlier today, HB 91 passed with unanimous bipartisan support in the Tourism, Infrastructure, and Energy Subcommittee. HB 91 provides DHSMV authority relating to the display & use of digital license plates and specifies requirements for digital license plates, digital license plate providers, & digital license plate consumers.
“Bringing digital license plates to Florida helps to pave the way into a more connected future. Florida has always been on the cutting-edge of technology and allowing the use of this technology can bring large-scale efficiency and savings to the over 17 million registered vehicles in our state. I am happy this bill was able to make it out of committee and is on its way to becoming law,” said Representative Nicholas X. Duran (D- Miami).
Having passed favorably, the bill has been referred to the Commerce Committee.
Haley Edges Teammate Allmendinger in Photo Finish to Win Wawa 250 at Daytona International Speedway
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Source: NASCAR // Coming to the checkered flag, Justin Haley nudged his No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet just ahead of his teammates A.J. Allmendinger and Jeb Burton in a thrilling three-wide finish in the Wawa 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday afternoon.
The blink-of-an-eye .023-second victory marked the fourth superspeedway victory for the 22-year-old Haley but his first win of the 2021 season. The race was halted due to inclement weather Friday after only 19 laps but resumed at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday. Haley has three wins on the Daytona high banks, also including one in a rain-shortened NASCAR Cup Series race here two years ago.
Allmendinger, who took the white flag in front of the field, may have just missed the race trophy, but he led the most laps on the day (30) and his runner-up effort was good enough to take the season driver standings lead by 17 points over defending series champion Austin Cindric, who was sidelined after a Lap 27 incident.
Although Haley and Allmendinger’s third Kaulig Racing teammate Jeb Burton made it a three-wide photo at the line, JR Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier actually nudged just ahead in the middle to officially take third place. Burton was credited with fourth place, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Hemric, whose fifth-place finish was a massive comeback after his No. 18 was involved in the same early-race incident that took Cindric out.
NASCAR Cup Series regular Christopher Bell was sixth with Noah Gragson, Myatt Snider, Harrison Burton and Riley Herbst rounding out the top 10. Hemric, Harrison Burton and Haley all clinched spots in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs with their finishes today.
“This has just not been the best season, it’s been really, really hard on this No. 11 LeafFilter team all year,” said an emotional Haley, who teared up in the car congratulating his crew after the checkered flag. “We’ve had a lot of bad luck.
“I was trying to formulate a plan there and obviously there were team orders. Hats off to Kaulig Racing. I think we’ve got the teammate thing down. It’s just so special to win here at Daytona.”
“I’ve won twice here and neither time did I get to see anyone [fans] on the frontstretch, so thank you guys for being here,” he told the cheering crowd. “I love you!”
The first 19 laps of the 100-lapper ran on Friday night, but Florida rain showers forced the Saturday matinee. The competition resumed, however, in the kind of typically flat-out, thrilling superspeedway storyline that NASCAR fans have become accustomed to.
“That was like the perfect photo shoot right there coming across the line for all the Kaulig Racing Chevys,” Allmendinger said with a huge grin. “Proud of my ‘son’ Justin Haley. He might be one of the best we’ve ever seen on superspeedways and Jeb did a fantastic job.
“I was just hanging on in the middle there. I thought we might get it [1-2-3 finish] but proud of everyone at Kaulig Racing.”
Haley and Burton won the opening two stages in an action-packed afternoon that had great impact on the championship chase.
Cindric, the defending Xfinity Series champion and a series best five-race winner in 2021, has led the series standings all season. But he was involved in a five-car accident toward the front of the field on Lap 26 that eliminated him from the race less than a half hour after it re-started.
Cindric’s No. 22 Team Penske Ford was hit from behind by Snider’s No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet entering Turn 1 sending a handful of cars into save-mode, with several – including top-10 finishers Hemric and Snider – suffering damage but returning to the race.
The hard hit into the inside retaining wall did enough damage to Cindric’s Ford, however, it could not continue. It marked the second straight race the 22-year-old was sidelined before the second stage even began. He finished 37th at Michigan last week after being collected in a seven-car accident only 12 laps into the race.
“Pretty upset for our Ford Mustang, two weekends in a row we’ve had race winning capable cars and I’ve had probably a total of 40 laps in the last two weeks,” Cindric said. “Really frustrating to have that situation play out so early. It only takes one, sometimes.”
Coming into the Daytona race, Cindric held a 35-point advantage over Allmendinger. Now he trails by 17 with only three races remaining to set the 12-driver Playoff field.
The top-10 work by Riley Herbst was significant in terms of the Playoffs. He came into the race ranked 12th, but was able to extend his lead ahead of Michael Annett (30th) and Brandon Brown (34th) who both had bad luck days at Daytona.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – 20th Annual Wawa 250
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida
Friday, August 27, 2021
1. (9) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 100.
2. (1) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 100.
3. (4) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 100.
4. (13) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 100.
5. (21) Daniel Hemric, Toyota, 100.
6. (15) Christopher Bell(i), Toyota, 100.
7. (2) Noah Gragson, Chevrolet, 100.
8. (23) Myatt Snider, Chevrolet, 100.
9. (5) Harrison Burton, Toyota, 100.
10. (6) Riley Herbst, Ford, 100.
11. (7) Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, 100.
12. (22) Sam Mayer #, Chevrolet, 100.
13. (34) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 100.
14. (32) David Starr, Toyota, 100.
15. (35) Jason White, Ford, 100.
16. (11) Ryan Sieg, Ford, 100.
17. (17) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 100.
18. (12) Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, 100.
19. (37) Chase Briscoe(i), Ford, 100.
20. (27) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 100.
21. (26) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 100.
22. (18) Jordan Anderson(i), Chevrolet, 100.
23. (29) Blaine Perkins, Chevrolet, 100.
24. (8) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 100.
25. (30) Mason Massey, Toyota, 100.
26. (33) Colby Howard, Chevrolet, 100.
27. (24) Ryan Vargas #, Chevrolet, 100.
28. (10) Jade Buford #, Chevrolet, 100.
29. (40) Tim Viens(i), Chevrolet, 100.
30. (19) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 100.
31. (25) Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 100.
32. (28) Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 98.
33. (16) Matt Mills, Toyota, 98.
34. (31) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 97.
35. (39) Joe Graf Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 88.
36. (36) Caesar Bacarella, Chevrolet, Accident, 82.
37. (20) Colin Garrett, Toyota, Accident, 71.
38. (38) Spencer Boyd(i), Chevrolet, Engine, 71.
39. (14) Austin Cindric, Ford, Accident, 27.
40. (3) Brandon Jones, Toyota, Engine, 17.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 121.753 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 3 Mins, 12 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.023 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 7 for 29 laps.
Lead Changes: 17 among 8 drivers.
Lap Leaders: A. Allmendinger 1-3;N. Gragson 4;A. Allmendinger 5-13;N. Gragson 14-16;A. Allmendinger 17-26;J. Haley 27-30;B. Brown 31-34;R. Herbst 35-43;B. Brown 44-45;A. Allmendinger 46-49;B. Brown 50-52;S. Mayer # 53;J. Burton 54-61;C. Bell(i) 62-65;N. Gragson 66-77;C. Bell(i) 78-96;A. Allmendinger 97-99;J. Haley 100.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): AJ Allmendinger 5 times for 29 laps; Christopher Bell(i) 2 times for 23 laps; Noah Gragson 3 times for 16 laps; Riley Herbst 1 time for 9 laps; Brandon Brown 3 times for 9 laps; Jeb Burton 1 time for 8 laps; Justin Haley 2 times for 5 laps; Sam Mayer # 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 11,16,10,54,7,02,9,90,68,20
Stage #2 Top Ten: 10,16,11,98,54,9,18,7,99,8
Fans can still purchase tickets for Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7:30 p.m. ET start) starting at $49 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. For ticket information, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com, call 1-800-PITSHOP or stop by the Speedway Ticket and Tours Building outside the track off International Speedway Blvd.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to Daytona International Speedway as a part of Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth on Saturday, February 19, with the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300, the day before the 64th running of the Great American Race – the DAYTONA 500.
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